Local pastors and politicians gathered at York Baptist Association's headquarters in Rock Hill on Tuesday morning to show a united front in choosing to vote yes on an amendment to the state Constitution that would legally define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
More than 20 pastors and five public officials stood behind the Rev. David Stanford of Clover First Baptist Church, who read a resolution that the association's members had unanimously approved at the Oct. 26 annual session.
The resolution states that the association encourages people to vote "yes" for the amendment, which will be voted on Tuesday. The association represents 65 churches in and around York County, and represents more than 22,000 church members.
"It boils down to, we want to save our culture," said the Rev. Steve Hogg, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Rock Hill. "More is at stake than just allowing people to behave as they like. Traditional values are at stake."
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Jennifer Solomon, faculty adviser for Winthrop University's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Ally League, said, "Not all traditional values are good values. Traditional values used to say women shouldn't work outside the home, that blacks and whites were unequal. Traditional values change."
Her group's stance is that "it's a totally useless and discriminatory amendment."
Politicians join effort
Political figures who joined the church representatives included state Rep. Greg Delleney, R-Chester, who introduced the bill; state Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, who's seeking election to the 5th Congressional District U.S. House seat; state Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, Rock Hill City Councilman Kevin Sutton; state Sen. Wes Hayes, R-Rock Hill; and York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant. The association invited all local politicians to attend.
"This is not about Republican or Democrat," Hogg said.
It is not a denominational issue either, said the Rev. Herb Crump of nondenominational Freedom Temple Ministries, who came to the event in support of the amendment.
Hogg said this amendment to the constitution is necessary even though state law prevents gay marriages that are performed elsewhere from being recognized in South Carolina.
Hogg used New Jersey as an example of what can go awry. Because the state did not have marriage clearly defined in its Constitution, the court was able to rule on it, he said. Homosexual unions are allowed in New Jersey.
"(The amendment) is the only protection from a liberal court," Hogg said.